Coach Sidney Green had the Owls on a roll in the early 2000s, but FAU was still looking for a victory that could make the program relevant in South Florida. Then undefeated Miami entered The Burrow.
Having entered the Top 10 in our countdown of the Top 25 FAU Games Ever Played, we’ve changed the format a bit. We’ll delve a little deeper into each game and implications on FAU’s athletic department. We’ve also asked some guest contributors to provide their thoughts on the games and the rankings.
No. 8 FAU Game Ever Played
FAU Basketball 74, Miami 72 (OT, Dec. 3, 2002)
Florida Atlantic had never defeated Miami when the Owls welcomed the Hurricanes to The Burrow in 2002.
This was a different group of Owls, however. Coming off its first NCAA tournament berth a season prior, FAU held a 3-3 record and gym full of confidence this time around.
FAU led by five at the half, but Miami responded with a second-half run that saw the Hurricanes lead be eight with fewer than 8 minutes remaining.
But Owls limited the Hurricanes to only two field goals over the final 12:45. Earnest Crumbley’s three-pointer with 44 seconds remaining, one of a program record-tying eight he drained from behind the arc on the night, tied the game at 66, ultimately sending it to overtime.
FAU scored the first six points of the overtime period before Miami responded with the next five. Miami had a chance to win in the closing seconds but James Jones’ jumper couldn’t find its target and the clock expired as players scrambled for the rebound.
Crumbley led all scorers with 25 points – he didn’t hit a two-point field goal all game – and Jeff Cowans chipped in 12.
The victory was FAU’s first over a Big East team, and Miami hasn’t set foot in The Burrow since.
However, that will change a couple of seasons from now. FAU and Miami are in the midst of a 2-for-1 contract. Last season Miami blew out FAU 75-55 in Coral Games. The two South Florida schools meet there again this upcoming season.
To complete the contract Miami will revisit The Burrow for the 2020-21 season.
View From The Stands – Chuck King, OwlAccess.com Managing Editor
Despite living in the Boca Raton area for more than 30 years, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve attended any FAU game as a fan of sport rather than as a journalist. Occupational hazard.
I was working at the Boca Raton News at the time, but chose to let someone else cover the game so that I could take my dad to watch it.
He played college basketball at Drexel and I played in high school. My parents had recently moved back to town and I thought it would make a fun night out.
We sat in what is now the student section on what were then old-school wooden bleachers that made the arena feel even more high schoolish than it is now. The game wasn’t exactly well played. Both teams endured scoring droughts. Both had chances to win the game late. My dad disliked FAU coach Sydney Green’s run-and-gun style of ball (and, likely, sitting on those bleachers) so much that he said he wasn’t interested in ever seeing an FAU game again.
The announced attendance came up a tad shy of 2,500. Still, I’ve never seen that kind of energy in The Burrow before or since. Yes, many in the crowd – probably more than half – were Miami fans, but that only seemed to make the victory sweeter for Owl fans.
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